From the Hip (film)

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From the Hip
From the Hip (film).jpg
Directed by Bob Clark
Produced byBob Clark
René Dupont
Written byBob Clark
David E. Kelley
Music by Paul Zaza
Cinematography Dante Spinotti
Edited byStan Cole
Distributed by De Laurentiis Entertainment Group
Release date
  • February 6, 1987 (1987-02-06)
Running time
111 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$9 million [1] or $7.5 million [2]
Box office$9,518,342

From the Hip, is a 1987 courtroom comedy-drama film directed by Bob Clark from a screenplay by Clark and David E. Kelley. The film stars Judd Nelson, Elizabeth Perkins, John Hurt, Ray Walston, and Darren McGavin.



Fresh out of law school, Robin "Stormy" Weathers (Judd Nelson) cannot stand the tedium of case filing and research. Desperately wanting to "practice law" and go to trial, one morning he intentionally withholds the fact that a trial is scheduled to begin that very afternoon to compel his superiors to let him try the case because he is the only one familiar with the facts of the case. During his meeting with the client (the president of a bank who intentionally struck another banker), the banker declares the "simple assault case" to be a no-winner (explaining that he hits people all the time), but wants the one-day trial to somehow be stretched to three days to run up the other banker's court fees.

Weathers prolongs the case by creating a 1st Amendment constitutional challenge as to the admissibility of the word "asshole". Escalating the case into a media frenzy, the senior partners of the law firm are embarrassed by Weathers' behavior and unconventional methods and try to fire him. The client retaliates on Weathers' behalf threatening to take the bank's business elsewhere. Weathers appears to be crafty and intuitive, but in reality, had conspired with the other attorney (a friend of his) to stage a brilliant legal engagement to make themselves look good. Weathers wins the trial and in doing so attracts a plethora of new clients to the firm which skyrockets him to be a junior partner.

In an act of unfair retaliation, Weathers is assigned to be lead defense counsel in a first-degree murder case involving university professor Douglas Benoit (John Hurt) who is almost certainly guilty of bludgeoning a prostitute to death with the claw of a hammer. Benoit wanted Weathers because he saw him in the previous case. Weathers takes the case and his loud and odd courtroom behavior soon amazes the judge, the spectators and sometimes embarrasses his girlfriend Jo Ann (Elizabeth Perkins). Determined to impress his employers by winning a verdict of not guilty, no matter what, his courtroom antics soon visibly gain even the jury's favor and raise the likelihood of acquittal.

Weathers unsuccessfully tries to get Benoit to accept a plea-bargain to manslaughter charges and soon discovers that Benoit is guilty: in a thinly-veiled confession used to taunt his own defense attorney, Benoit vividly describes to him the "clarity of mind" it takes for a man to be able to split someone's skull open with the claw of a hammer... while the person remains alive. Weathers becomes conflicted between his sense of duty and ethics and his moral obligation to see Benoit pay for his crime. Despite the possibility of being disbarred, he decides to antagonize Benoit into a confession on the stand.



Box office

Released on February 6, 1987, the film grossed $9.5 million domestically. [3]

Critical response

Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 22% based on reviews from 9 critics. [4]


Judd Nelson was nominated for a Razzie Award as Worst Actor for his role in the film, where he lost to Bill Cosby for Leonard Part 6 . [5]

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  2. De Laurentiis PRODUCER'S PICTURE DARKENS: [Home Edition] KNOEDELSEDER, WILLIAM K, Jr. Los Angeles Times 30 Aug 1987: 1.
  3. "From the Hip (1987)". Box Office Mojo. 1988-07-05. Retrieved 2016-12-25.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-02-10. Retrieved 2013-09-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)